My beloved hometown is not exactly a metropolis. It has taken many years for me to finally start complaining, but I find myself saying a lot lately, “I wish we had more restaurants!”
Now if anyone wants to bring a grand buffet or a steakhouse within our borders, I will be the first in line at the door, but God brought an interesting point to my attention today. As I was headed to a familiar drive-thru and I mentally began to lament that I was about to eat the same ol’ sandwich, God reminded me that there is a three-panel menu at this restaurant, so it is only because of my narrow-mindedness that I end up ordering the same exact sandwich over and over and over again.
Are you excited about reading your Bible? If not, maybe it’s time to change things up. Open up that big, beautiful holy book, but ask God to take you somewhere new. Dare you start into the minor prophets? Could some stories from the kings be in your future? The entire contents of the Bible are profitable for instruction and can make you wise. Let God serve up a new dish for you and let the Word feed your soul.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
We are perplexed, but not in despair. (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)
When it’s good, it’s really good, but when it’s bad, it’s bad. Have you ever felt like throwing in the towel?
I love doing ministry, but sometimes I am completely baffled about how to effectively help a person, or how to take the ministry to the next level, or how to deal with seemingly hopeless situations. I get perplexed. That’s a fancy word for saying that I get frustrated and run out of mental energy to keep thinking about the issue. But when I’m weary, I’ve got to remember that God is still working. God is not confused or wringing His hands while He sits on His throne, so I needn’t fall into despair. Instead, I need to fall into His arms.
Don’t give up! Think about how awesome it’s going to be when God brings a breakthrough, and do a dance of joy!
“I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.” (Revelation 1:18)
I believe. I believe Jesus is alive. I believe He died and was buried, yet now lives because the power of God raised Him from the dead. I believe He is alive forevermore. I believe He has conquered death and has given eternal life to all who believe. I am convinced of these truths, and it is my aim to let my daily life reflect what I believe to be true, to the glory of God.
Always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. (2 Corinthians 4:10)
What do you do when you don’t think you love your husband anymore? Or you don’t understand why God’s not answering your prayers and you feel like giving up? Or you simply don’t feel like being faithful and obedient?
You’re not the only person who’s ever had those feelings, and you won’t be the last. But feelings can’t dictate your decisions; happiness can’t be your aim. Die to self day by day, or moment by moment if the occasion demands it, and let the life of Christ give you the determination to do what’s right, even when you don’t feel like it.
But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report.
(2 Corinthians 6:4-8)
What does it mean to minister?
Carefully go through each of these 21 listings from the Apostle Paul and pray; ask God to help you honestly evaluate if you’re honoring God in these marks of ministry.
Oh God, may we be faithful ministers of the gospel!
Jesus said, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Fully accepting Christ as your personal Lord and Savior sets you free from the bondage of sin, and applying that knowledge to the needs of this dark world for hope in Christ gives us boldness to act upon that freedom. As Christ warns about the true reality of those who will die in their sins without His blood covering their iniquities, we look at our hands and feet and ask God to unleash us from the bondage of fear and pride, of tradition and complacency, of unbelief and self-indulgence, that we might be the light of Christ running swiftly into the darkness to dispel the lies of Satan and speak Truth to the nations.
Are you still asking, “Jesus, who are You?” Seek His face. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matt. 7:7). Be persistent in your search, and do not get up from your posture of prayer until you know who He is in a living and very personal way. It is not enough to be learning; each one of us must come to the knowledge of the Truth. For if Jesus Christ makes you free, you shall be free indeed (John 8:36).
The identity of Jesus is a truth often not discovered by men. In John 8:21-25, Jesus confronted the confusion of the Jews. Hear Christ sifting through the minds of all men: Then Jesus said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin. Where I go you cannot come.” So the Jews said, “Will He kill Himself, because He says, ‘Where I go you cannot come’?” And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” Then they said to Him, “Who are You?”
Paul wrote to Timothy that in the last days perilous times would come, because men would always be learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth (2 Tim. 3:7). You may be studying for the first in your life to discover who Jesus is, or perhaps you have spent a lifetime of studying the Bible and listening to the Word of God taught in the church. But as you have continually been on this path of learning, have you fully accepted the knowledge of the truth of who Jesus Christ is, as the Savior of the world, as fully God and fully man, and as the Lord and Savior of your life? Have you wrestled with the Word of God? Have you sought His face, heard His voice in your ear, and invited Him personally to be the Lord and Savior of your life? If you aren’t sure, then echo the words of the Jews who asked Jesus, “Who are You?”
As Jesus and Pilate continued their discussion about the kingdom of Christ, Jesus said, “For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:37).
Then Pilate, in perhaps the most vivid display of human spiritual blindness, looked into the face of the Son of God and responded, “What is truth?” (John 18:39). Pilate wouldn’t have known the truth if it were staring him in the face, for Pilate was indeed eyeball to eyeball with Truth. Pilate was oblivious, but Jesus had already said during His earthly ministry, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Pilate turned and walked away from King Jesus, not aware of what invaluable piece of eternal wisdom Jesus could have given him, had he only stood still long enough to receive the Truth.
“Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15)
Jesus stood in the Praetorium while His accusers stood outside with anxious thoughts, thirsty for the shedding of blood. Pilate had a private talk with Jesus, an amazing moment in time as the Lamb of God stood in the face of the man who would sentence Him to slaughter, and Jesus beckoned Pilate to the truth.
Pilate asked Jesus if He was indeed the king of the Jews. Having heard the disdain in the voices of the Jewish leaders outside his portals, Pilate likely asked the question with little expectation to glean an answer of any interest. Jesus, however, asked a question of His own. “Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me?” (John 18:34) The question has a ring of familiarity, as it echoes the same pointed message Jesus sent to the disciples when He asked, “Who do you say that I am?” (Matt. 16:15) Jesus wanted Pilate to know he would personally have to decide who Jesus was in his own life. There can be no casual familiarity with the Son of God. Our depths of knowing Him cannot be measured by what we hear others saying about Him; we must decide in our own hearts who Jesus is.
It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment. (Hebrews 9:27)
We moved into the tiny shack. Darkness hovered. There was a lack of light, but the darkness was not just about what was missing; it was also affected by what was present. No light, no life, no hope, but fear and death had filled up that space. The man on the bed was stiffened and still, leaning hard upon death’s door. My friend had been to his home many times before to encourage him to give his life to Jesus, but never had he opened his heart to the truth. And now his body was shutting down, and his soul was about to meet the Judge.
By my friend’s invitation, I began to share the gospel with him. Noisy distracters stood at the door, and my team stood like a human shield to keep out the evil one and pray that this man would hear the gospel in his final hours. When I have shared the gospel before, I have sensed that I was battling the flesh, the darkness, the evil one, lies, deception…but as I stooped to help this man be able to look me in the eye, I sensed I was battling death. His body was in the clutches of death, and death had just about completed its work. It was as if the man was trying to decide if he would spend his last ounce of energy to listen to what this strange woman was trying to tell him about Jesus. All praise to God, this man put his faith in Jesus Christ before we left that day. I look forward to seeing him in heaven, and I dare say he’ll beat me there.
Not to everyone does death come slowly. To many it comes swiftly, unexpectedly, like a thief or robber. Everyone has a death appointment, followed by the judgment. Are you ready for your appointment with death?